FA chief executive Ian Watmore condemns possible Uefa restrictions

As speculation continues that Michel Platini and Uefa may seek to use the credit crunch and the high levels of debt at some clubs as a justification of bringing in salary caps, the new chief executive of the FA has given another negative reaction.

“Anything that makes the competition stronger and more deep, I think has got to be welcomed. We don’t want to see the Premier League becoming a top- four procession every year.

“If in the process of the new money coming into Manchester City — and some interesting, I think different, strategies that people like Aston Villa are adopting — we can get to seven or eight clubs that realistically have a chance of breaking into the top four, it can only strengthen the Premier League, which is to our mutual advantage.”

For City this is good news. Our spending on wages and transfers is undoubtedly going to be very high in relation to turnover for the next couple of years as our owners invest and seek to grow the club. The last thing we need is a salary cap linked to turnover, which would only consolidate the position of the established big clubs and make it nigh on impossible to challenge them.

Chief executive of the Premier League, Richard Scudamore also rejected calls for a salary cap earlier this year. Although not everyone in the Premier League is apparently against the idea. With their current financial constraints the Arsenal chief executive mentioned it recently in an interview with David Conn. Coincidentally the Gunners currently have the highest match day revenues in the country.

Interestingly I saw this article in The Telegraph in February which stated:

Ninety-five of the ECA’s 103 full members gathered in Geneva, ranging from F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg to Real Madrid, and there was remarkable unanimity in opposition to a wage cap.

Smaller clubs baulk at setting salaries at a percentage of revenue because they fear it would allow the richest clubs to continue to dominate. The larger clubs would welcome the chance to spend less on players’ wages, but will not countenance falling behind their rivals.

The political manoeuvring on this topic by Platini is something to keep a watchful eye on. If he was to get his way, it could cause more damage to Sheikh Mansour’s ambitions than any onfield opposition.

Player ratings: City 2 Celtic 1

Given – Held on well to one shot. Shay probably expended most energy berating his teammates for sloppy defending at corners. 7

Zabaleta – A chance to play 90 minutes in his rightful position and he was excellent. Tigerish in the tackle and put over a superb cross for the first goal. 8

Dunne – Started on left side of central defence and completely lost his man for the first goal. Subsequently returned to right hand side and had no further problems. 5

Toure – It’s a delight to see a City central defender bringing the ball out from the back and making telling passes. The injury didn’t look a major concern. 7

Bridge – Much improved on his defensive debacle at Rangers. Instigated the second goal with a fine run and pass to Bellamy. 7

De Jong – It’s not just the way he tackles that impresses, but the way he tackles and manages to lay the ball off to a teammate. 7

Barry – Brilliantly timed run for the first goal. Total composure in the first half alongside De Jong, then required to work overtime in the second when anchoring midfield. 8

Ireland – Some quality touches and passes, though he tends to get caught straying to far forward when playing in a central midfield two. 7

Wright-Phillips – An improved display on what has been a mixed pre-season. 6

Robinho – Didn’t always get the passes he was hoping for from his teammates, but kept going. 6

Bellamy – Just when it looked like nothing was coming off for the Welshman, up he popped with the second goal. 7


Ben Haim – Aside from one needless concession of a corner this was an improved display by the Israeli. 6

Adebayor – This was his most languid performance so far, when few things he attempted came off. 6

Weiss – Provided entertainment for the crowd with some great trickery even if we don’t always get the final ball. 6

Tevez – Warmed up to a huge cheer, and came on to an even bigger one. There were some nice touches and a glimpse of the famed workrate. 7

Petrov – Wasn’t able to influence the game as much as he would have liked. 6

Man of the match: Barry.

Report: City 2 Celtic 1

Goals: Barry 15, Bellamy 50 for City. Killen 24 for Celtic.

City completed pre-season with a morale boosting victory over a weakened Celtic side with goals from Gareth Barry and former hoops hero Craig Bellamy. Former City academy star Chris Killen netted for Celtic.

The number of empty seats in the home areas were disappointing, but at least there was a large turnout from the ever boisterous Celtic fans, who were given the whole of the South Stand. Unsurprisingly they were in high spirits after their midweek victory in Europe.

A trio of former City players made a return in the shape of Georgios Samaras, Willo Flood and Killen. All received a good hand from City fans as the teams were read out.

The warm reception was reciprocated for Shay Given and, in particular, Craig Bellamy who is famed for his title winning exploits north of the border. It must have made a welcome change for the Welshman to be cheered by the opposition fans!

Hughes sent out a strong line-up, though with Dunne being the only outfield player over 6 feet tall, it would represent quite a gamble to play this side at Sam Allardyce’s Blackburn.

Zabaleta took over from Richards at right-back and had an excellent game in his preferred position. The Argentine’s tackling and his refusal to let wingers get the better of him is a lesson to all our other full-backs.

With Toure playing on the right of central defence, we again saw Dunne shunted over to the left. In the early part of the game Dunne survived ok, possibly due to a complete lack of Celtic attacks. However following City’s first goal and the departure of Toure, Celtic came into the game. A glorious pass from Samaras sent the unmarked Killen racing through on Dunne’s blind side, and he fired past Given. It was very poor defending from City to let the New Zealander get away so easily.

Soon afterwards Ben Haim moved to the left side and Dunne was back in his comfort zone on the right. From then on City looked a lot more at ease in open play. Corners were another matter as aside from Given nobody appeared fully focussed. We were lucky not to concede on more than one occasion. Any observers for “Set Piece Sam” Allardyce would have been busy noting that.

City had started the game well with the midfield pairing of De Jong and Barry looking excellent once again.  This relieves Ireland of having to restrict his breaks forward, which he struggled to do when asked to play in a central midfield pair in the second half. Barry demonstrated the art of knowing when to break into the box in scoring the opening goal. It was beautiful in it’s simplicity as Wright-Phillips released Zabaleta who hit a fantastic cross for the former Villa man to volley first time into the net.

The substitution of De Jong for Adebayor at half-time meant a change in formation. Barry, with Ireland supposedly alongside him was required to do a lot more covering and did well not to be overrun.

Six minutes into the second half, Bridge picked up the ball at full back and set off on a meandering run that took him towards the centre circle. A ball over to Bellamy had the Celtic defence back-pedalling and the Welshman turned his defender one way and then the other before firing into the bottom corner. Another quality goal from City.

Hughes then seemed intent on giving all his attacking players a run out in front of the watching Khaldoon al-Mubarak. Tevez, Weiss and Petrov all made an appearance. Tony Mowbray appeared to go substitute crazy himself and both teams lost their shape as the game petered out.


“It was a good work-out, but we’re at a stage where we are a bit fed up of friendlies and want to get the real stuff started. In fairness, today was a good exercise because they were good opposition, and there was a great atmosphere today.

“There are always things in friendlies that will look a bit false, and you need to get the competitive juices flowing to see what you want to see.”

“I knew I could only play Carlos for about 25 minutes at most today,” Hughes continues, “and I wanted to see him on the pitch with Robi and Ade.”

Once again it was a decent match to watch as both sides played an open game at a decent pace, particularly in the first half. The centre of defence and general lack of organisation at the back remains the biggest concern, both in open play and at set pieces.

The forwards aren’t quite gelling, but there’s now sufficient quality and variety to believe they will. The workrate of Tevez seemed to rub off on some of the others, and that in itself could be a useful improvement on last year. Hopefully Khaldoon al-Mubarak will have departed feeling sufficiently happy with how the money’s been spent.

External reports:
Official site
Manchester Evening News
Sporting Life

Blog reports
The Lonesome Death Of Roy Carroll

Match highlights
Hughes interview